Guest Reviewed by Emilie
Title: The Hardest Thing
Author: James Lear
Series: Dan Stagg Mystery #1
Heroes: Dan & Jody
Genre: M/M Contemporary Erotica
Length: 261 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press
Release Date: May 1, 2013
Available at: Cleis Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Once a major in the U.S. Army, Dan Stagg fell afoul of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. In his late 30s, tall, and muscular, Dan is prone to violence, always upholding what he views as justice. He’s offered a great deal of money to protect the young male “secretary” of a powerful real estate broker. The vain, shallow—but most of all hot—young man’s idea of protection includes sex. Dan quickly realizes something strange is going on: he’s being used as a shield for a much more sinister operation and must chose between easy money and sex or the ideals that he embodied in the Army. Why should he do the right thing—particularly when the army betrayed him? The Hardest Thing is a sexy gay mystery as only James Lear can write it: filled with lots of gay sexual encounters, romance, sweat, violence, and conspiracy.
So damn good. The story itself was engaging enough, with twists and turns and things I hadn’t seen coming all the way up to the end. But what really worked for me was the narrator. I loved Stagg’s way of recounting things. He’s a grey character for sure, but still very endearing. I felt for him, I wanted him to get what he wanted. Life threw him quite the curveball in the past and I wanted him to find his place. Actually, life keeps giving him the bad end of the stick.
There’s a hell of a lot of sex in this book and yet, not all of it is graphic. Some scenes are (the bathroom? Damn) but a lot of it is also implied. It still manages to be hot as hell, even when it’s just a couple sentences. James Lear writes erotica after all, and he’s damn good at it. Stagg has one thing on his mind most of the time and he thinks of sex in the worst situations. Don’t go in expecting fluff and a faithful lover. That’s not what you’ll get.
It’s not your usual romance. Actually, it’s not a romance, it’s erotica, so if you’re looking for love go pick another book and probably another author, but the plot was good, the narrator was good, Jody was… well Jody. And I was kept on the edge of my seat until the very last page. I even liked the ending, as bittersweet as it is. I think it was perfect.
Overall Impression: It was amazing
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*